Holding a crowd’s attention at Relay For Life is no easy task. With the fellas distracted by the perpetual wet T-shirt fest, compliments of water-balloon tosses and water “Duck, Duck, Goose” games, and the ladies going bonkers over T-shirt decorating and fashion shows, getting someone to lend an ear to a song or two could prove as difficult as getting a Santa Catalina resident to swear off the booze.
But if anyone can do it, Venus Infers can. Not only did the band draw a sizable audience, but it also nabbed the title from some spectators as the best performance of the day.
The Orange County-based band comprises frontman Davis Fetter, drummer Steve Wilmot, guitarist Hiro Makino and bassist Richard Marion. With their collective talents, they package rock rhythm, sophisticated chord progression and honest lyrics that will have you toe-tapping, self-reflecting and weeping for your high school sweetheart all at the same time.
Prior to Relay For Life, I sat down with Davis Fetter. He spoke of the band’s recent successes, which include frequent airplay on KROQ and being featured on TV shows such as “The Hills,” “The Real World” and FX’s “Damages.” Unlike rock bands who proclaim themselves “indie,” Venus Infers has no qualms about being in the mainstream – its music is for all ears.
“When composing the art, artists should be discriminating,” Fetter said, but “not when choosing their audience.”
But watch out, Miley Cyrus and JoBros – Team VI intends to swoop in and right the wrong you’ve done to America’s children.
“These days, mainstream dumbs kids down,” said Fetter. ” Fuck that. Kids have no one exposing them to good music. They can like the Jonas Brothers, but they should also have an appreciation for the old stuff too.”
Bless the grown-ups who stocked Venus Infers’s Fisher Price tape players. With influences like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges and Oasis, it’s clear these guys weren’t playing in the same sandbox as Fergie. As adults, they extended their interest to the likes of The Libertines and The Strokes, and incorporated this cornucopia of sound into their music.
“We’re not a tribute band,” Fetter explains, “But we’re very transparent about our influences – you can hear [them] when we play.”
With songs as poignant as Davis’s personal masterpiece, “Some Things Are Better the Way They’re Remembered,” it’s easy to foresee Venus Infers’ contribution to the revival of the rock and roll genre.
“There needs to be a cultural demand for it,” says Davis.
Well, Davis, you’ve now got about 350 UCSB girls ready to lead the revolution.